Thursday, November 10, 2005

Weymouth to St Ives - Day 10

A spot of Internetting at a local cafe to get e-mails and some work away. Then out of the town and onto the A roads - which are slow, clogged, and wend through delightful Devon villages. Devon is such typically English countryside - rolling hills, the odd escarpment, and the odd moorland for relief. We pop in to Lyme Regis for a fossil or two: Mary Anning, the 18th century lady who had a knack for seeing fossils where everyone else had just seen rocks, made the place famous. And the Old Forge Fossil Shop has Madeleine Peyroux on the shop stereo. So we linger.

Those little villages may be photogenic and quaint but are hell on wheel to get through. Muttering Bah! and Humbug! we head for the nearest dual carriageway in sight, as the weather is closing in and it is a reasonable hop over to St Ives. The average speed rises satisfactorily, as yet again, despite a 70mph alleged limit on the motorways, the fast lane averages 80mph and our trusty 4 miles per inch map shows the location of every fixed speed camera. And the weather being what it is, there are no mobile cameras needed: the state of the road surface and natural caution act to limit speeds.

Then westward ho! Weather is now vile, so it's hammer down, traffic and road surface permitting. Make St Ives late afternoon, and are immediately captivated. Beautiful working harbour, and mediaeval fishing village streets. We ask around and select a family-run hotel up above the town with a great sea view. Mad has the knack for nosing out the right deal and right proprietor: some we have asked, just don't seem interested in making a sale. The service mentality in Britain is decidedly patchy..... We settle in, find our way down to the harbour and pick a restaurant. It's closed! Of course: even though it's picth dark, intermittently raining, the time is only 5.15pm... We walk around the harbour, explore one or two of the better-lit alley streets, and have a genuine Cornish pizza, Spanish and Italian beers. Find our way back up the hill to the hotel - not easy in these little, narrow winding streets, and watch an Irish race-totalisator programmer win 2005 MasterMind.

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